It has been a busy week at the FEB household. The quarterly board meeting for my day job was this week, which always keeps me busy. Also, we have the whole family in town for a birthday celebration. This usually ends up with me eating too much food and drinking too much wine. Luckily, I’m not racing this weekend.
We are still playing spending as much time as possible with the Garmin 910XT. This watch has a boat load of features, and we’re trying to get through most of them. It was good to get some time in the last few weeks with the Nike FuelBand. If you haven’t already, check out our link to the review below.
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Nike announced the FuelBand in January of 2012, and started shipping the product in March 2012. So what is the Nike FuelBand? The FuelBand is a watch that measures your daily activity. Nike believes that having an easy way to measure daily activity will motivate people to move and exercise more. The FuelBand can display and track time, the number of steps taken during the day, something called Nike Fuel, and your daily calories burned. You can set a target for how active you want to be, and the FuelBand gauges how close you are to your daily goal with a red, yellow and green display.
Before we get started, a quick tidbit about our reviews. By now, many of you have read the FitnessElectronicsBlog disclaimer, but here it is in case this is your first time reading one of our reviews. For the record, are in no way connected with Nike or any of the companies whose gear we review. We do this because we love playing with the latest technology, and we can’t keep our hands off this stuff if we tried. For this review, we purchased the Nike FuelBand. No give-us-gear for a favorable review, or anything like that. We call ‘em as we see ‘em. It keeps us honest. Also, we have a group of 4 people who do the evaluations of all of the gear. One person is the lead on a piece of gear, but everyone gets a chance to evaluate the stuff. We have 2 guys and 2 ladies, so it’s a good mix of people. It gives us better insight, and we get a better review overall. Everyone has an input to the review. If you want to know who these people are, check out our About Us page. We have 4 seasoned triathletes, and 3 Pilates instructors. All swim, bike, run, do Pilates and Yoga, and use all of the gear on a daily basis. So, enough with the babble, and let’s get to the review.
What’s in the box?
Here is the product box:
Here is what is included in the Nike+ FuelBand box:
Here is a side view of the FuelBand. It comes in three sizes; small, medium and large. If you need a to figure out your size, there is a sizing chart on the Nike FuelBand website. The FuelBand comes with additional links, and a tool to remove them.
Here is a view of the connection snap:
Here is the charging cable and additional link and removal tool:
The watch band has a rubberized feel, with a locking mechanism on the bottom to keep it locked. It has a single button that scrolls through time, Nike Fuel, calories, and steps taken.
So what are the features and specs?
These specs come right off of the Nike+ FuelBand website:
Small: 5.79 inch circumference
Medium: 6.77 inch circumference
Large: 7.76 inch circumference
Depth: 0.6 to 0.8 inches
Small: 0.95 oz
Medium: 1.06 oz
Large: 1.13 oz
A built-in 3 axis accelerometer
An ambient light sensor to change the brightness of the display
20 color LED array shows your daily goal progress
100 white LED display shows time, NikeFuel earned, calories burned and steps taken
The FuelBand is water resistant. It can be worn in the shower or in the rain
It is not waterproof. It is not recommended to use while swimming
The watch has a built in USB interface, and is supplied with a USB connection cable
The FuelBand can be connected to an iPhone with iOS 4.3 and greater.
There is an airplane mode to disable the Bluetooth connection while in flight
There are two Lithium Polymer batteries inside
Up to 4 days of battery life
For those of you who are interested, here are some pics of the internals of the FuelBand:
You can see the USB connector on the left side of the board.:
Here you can see the array of white LED’s:
It’s pretty cool how they get the board to flex to the curved shape of the watch using the orange flex circuit boards.
Using the Watch
To get started, you will need to install some software. To install the FuelBand software, you first need to download the installer, which is available here. Scroll down the page to get software, and click on download. Follow the directions, and the software should install. After this is done, the program will ask you to connect your FuelBand if you haven’t already done so. You will then see a screen that may update your FuelBand firmware. If so, follow the directions, and it should install:
While the watch is plugged in, the battery is being charged. Here is an image of the watch charging in the supplied dock:
Once your software is installed, you will need to set up your FuelBand with your weight, height, and the number of calories that you want to burn. Here is a video on how to set it up:
If you want to save your activities and view your progress, you will need to create a Nike+ profile. This is the last step in the software setup. Click SIGN UP , or use Facebook account to login. Here is the create account screen:
There is full integration with Twitter and Facebook.
After the watch syncs and the battery is fully charged, the battery display will show full. Disconnect the FuelBand, put it on your wrist, and you are ready to go.
Each day your calories, Nike Fuel, and steps will be reset to zero. Plugging the FuelBand in to the computer will recharge the watch, and transfer your workouts to Nike+ Connect. Battery life is approximately 4 days.
Here is a great shot of the FuelBand, taken from the Nike website:
So I took the watch on a run, a ride, and a walk. I compared my calories burned fro the FuelBand to the Garmin 910XT. The run was a very hilly 5 mile run. The calories were within 150 of each other. On a long walk, they were within 60 calories. The bike wan’t even close. Since the FuelBand thinks you are walking or running, and it’s trying to measure a walking or running gait with an accelerometer, you would expect the measured bike calories with the FuelBand to be way off. It was. I like to think of the FuelBand as a really cool pedometer, that’s pretty accurate at measuring walking or running, but not so great at other sports.
Many people have asked how Nike Fuel compares to calories. I’ve come to the conclusion that I still don’t understand what Nike Fuel is. The claim is that Nike Fuel is a metric that compares a person’s movement through the FuelBand accelerometer to Nike’s data they’ve collected on how rapidly oxygen is consumed. Nike claims that in this way, you can compare your Nike Fuel burned with other people. I assume it sort of like normalized calories.
The iPhone app is another way to sync your device to Nike+ Connect. You can use the iPhone or a computer to do this. The iPhone app can be downloaded from the iTunes store. Once the app is installed on your iPhone, the FuelBand will need to be paired to the iPhone. The FuelBelt has a Bluetooth radio that can transmit and receive data to and from the iPhone. Here is a video showing how to pair the FuelBand to the iPhone:
Connect the Nike+ FuelBand to Your iPhone
Here are the four main screens on the iPhone. This is the HOME screen:
This is the ACTIVITY screen. This screen plots the number of calories burned versus time. The time san be changed from daily to weekly, monthly or yearly.
Here is the FRIENDS page, that lets you connect with other people:
Thoughts, Opinions and Summary:
Here are the pros and cons:
Nice looking watch
Could be a good motivator to keep moving during the day, or if you are just starting to exercise
Four day battery life
Calories burned is most accurate during walking and running exercises
If you want to do accurate day to day workout comparisons, you will need a HRM or GPS watch
You need to press a button to get the time or any of the other metrics
So what do we think? First of all, the watch definitely looks different. We like the look, and it feels good . During running, it slid around a little too much for us. If you are a serious runner or triathlete, and you want to measure your time, distance, pace, or measure multiple sports, the FuelBand is not the watch for you. If you have been into running or triathlon for awhile, and want to buy a something in the $150-$200 price range, I recommend the Soleus GPS 2.0 for $149.00 or Timex GPS watches in the $200.00 price range. So who is this watch targeted to, and what would they do with it? I think this watch is all about trying to give exercisers, especially beginning exercisers, a simple way to view progress, and more importantly, a way to create a workout habit. If you buy the FuelBand, it can motivate you to be a little more active each day. You know how some people say that it takes 3 weeks to create a habit? Since it’s definitely easy to use, you can work your way into a workout habit. Who cares if it isn’t super accurate? It’s the motivation factor that is important. Once you get hooked on exercise, you can always step up to a heart rate monitor or GPS watch.
So, as we usually ask ourselves, for our target audience who are the season runner or triathlete, “Would we buy and recommend this watch?” For the reasons stated above, our answer is no. If you are a beginner just starting to exercise, and don’t want to learn to use a heart rate monitor or GPS watch, and want something super simple, I would still recommend that you bite the bullet and get a heart rate monitor or GPS watch, but if you’re looking for motivation, the FuelBand may just be the ticket. I like it as a watch, and I think I’ll keep it
We will leave you with a few videos of the Nike+ FuelBand. Here is an introduction of the Nike+ FuelBand:
I’m headed to Toronto today, which is something I do about once a month for a few days. Half of my design team resides there, so I need some face time every three or four weeks. It’s a great city to visit, and there is plenty to do. Multisport is alive and well there. So today, I’m just going to throw together some quick ‘happenins’ that have been circulating as I sit in the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Airport. Yes, for those of you who didn’t know, Cincinnati’s airport is actually in Kentucky.
So, by now most of you have heard that Alberto Contador has been stripped of his 2010 Tour de France title, and he has been retroactively banned from cycling for 2 years. My question is “What does everyone think about it?” Here is Andy Schleck’s thoughts, who is now the winner of TdF 2010. It seems that many individuals think that cycling goes a bit overboard when it comes to banned substances. Hard to say. This is the third time the title has been stripped due to this issue. I’ll leave it up to people smarter than me.
I was sitting here scanning the web, and found that Geeky Gadgets had an internal picture of the new Nike+ FuelBand. Being the geek that I am, I had to venture over to the FCC site and check out the guts of this watch. When you file for equipment authorization, you need to provide schematics, users manual, and a working unit to an FCC test facility. Some of this information, like schematics and theory of operation, can remain confidential. Other items, like pics and manual, are public after a certain period of time. Anyway, here are some images of the internals of the watch:
From the product design point of view, very cool!
We have friends in Denver, and I wish we would have seen some of the snow that they had dumped on them. It feels like spring around here, with temps around 50 degrees everyday. We have only had a dusting. What is going on?
On the other side of things, hopefully there will be good weather in Toronto so I can squeeze in a run, and if time permits, a strength workout. I need to learn how to eat better when I’m traveling. I’m trying to shed a few pounds, but between the steaks, seafood, desserts, and vino every night, it’s tough. Well, they’re starting to board, so I gotta go……………..
Here are all of the postings from the last week. Be sure to also follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and Google+. I’ve also included a few fun and interesting sites, blogs or articles that I’ve found during the week.
On Thursday, Nike introduced the Nike+ FuelBand. It is a watch that measures your daily activities, like calories burned, and steps taken. It also measures something called NikeFuel. Set your goal, and throughout the day, the 20 color LED’s will change from red to green. Get to green and you have attained your goal. There is a mobile app that tracks your progress, which is currently compatible with iPhone’s that run iOS 4 and iOS 5. It’s water resistant, so you can shower with it, but it’s not waterproof. It has a lithium polymer battery, and claims to last up to 4 days on a charge. It has a dock, and it charges with a supplied USB cable. To sync it, you can use the USB cable plugged into your computer, or sync wirelessly via Bluetooth to your iPhone.
Here is a short video of the FuelBand in action:
I like the looks; I think it looks great, and I love the idea of feedback during the day as you move around. I haven’t figured out how NikeFuel is different than calories burned, but I’m sure more information will be available shortly. I think this could be the motivation to get people off of the couch, and to stay active and motivated. It will be fun to get one, and do an in-depth review. Price is $149.00.